St Peter’s Basilica located in the Vatican is one of the most famous churches in the world. It is also the most renowned work of the Renaissance, designed by masters like Michaelangelo, Donato Bramante, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It was described by the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson as “an ornament of the earth … the sublime of the beautiful.”
The history of St. Peter’s Basilica starts with St. Peter (Simon), one of the 12 disciples of Christ who propagated the Christian faith in the West and was martyred in Rome in 64 AD during the reign of Nero. The crucifixion took place on an ancient Egyptian obelisk in the circus of Nero and he was buried just outside the circus. About 300 years later in 333 AD, the old St. Peter’s Basilica was constructed at this site, built by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great.
The plan to rebuild the old Basilica first came to Pope Nicholas IV (1397-1455). He even ordered the demolition of the Colosseum so that its debris could be used to build the new structure. However the Pope died without achieving much and it was not till the times of Pope Julius II (1443-1513) that the plan was revived again.
However, the plan which Julius II had for the Basilica was far different from what Nicholas IV had ever thought of. He wanted to have the ancient basilica demolished and replaced with a monumental structure to house his own enormous tomb to aggrandize himself in the popular imagination. A design competition was held and the work started, taking 120 years and many Popes to finally complete it in 1626 AD. Eminent sculptures like Michelangelo contributed heavily to the work and by the time it finished, “St Peter’s Basilica was the reason why Rome was considered the center of the civilized world.”
|Timing||Places||Apr to Sep||Oct to Mar|
|St. Peter’s Basilica||7:00 AM to 7:00 PM||7:00 AM to 6:00 PM|
|Treasury Museum||9:00 AM to 6:15 PM||9:00 AM to 5:15 PM|
|Grottoes||7:00 AM to 6:00 PM||7:00 AM to 5:00 PM|
|Cupola||8:00 AM to 6:00 PM||8:00 AM to 4:45 PM|
|Scavi Office||Weekdays||9:00 AM to 5:00 PM|
|Reach||Subway||Line A, Station Ottaviano-S. Pietro|
|Entrance Tickets||Climbing Cupola||Elevator||7 euros|
Photo Courtesy: All Free Photos
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